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Author Topic: Is photography considered a solitary art?  (Read 4953 times)
TDR
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« on: September 16, 2007, 08:09:58 AM »
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I wonder what is your take on the topic? Is it a hobby which is best done alone except when presenting your work or is it something that is best done as a whole group where you share your accomplishment later?

I'm located in Malaysia from my perception it is considered a group hobby. This has it's pros and cons. Pro in the sense that you learn more but con in that if you didn't shoot along with your fellow photographers they won't give much advice or suggestions on pics you took.
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Rob C
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« Reply #1 on: September 16, 2007, 01:22:04 PM »
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Your question poses others than the one you thought you were putting to us, the main one being why do you care?

If you don´t want or feel it badly enough to get out and do it, then the best advice is to take up something else; it will only cost you more and more money as you go along with it and if your mindset is of the ´shared experience´ kind, then I don´t expect that much will ever come of it.

I believe that it is an all or nothing choice.

Others, of course, will disagree, and their opinions are just as valid - I volunteer but my own take on it all.

Rob C
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Petrjay
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« Reply #2 on: September 16, 2007, 02:02:38 PM »
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I can only speak for myself, but it's been my experience that shooting in the presence of other photographers serves only to disturb my concentration. As far as advice in the field goes, I'm out there solely to capture my personal vision, and I'm the only one who knows what that is. I'm as sociable as the next guy, but not when I'm working.
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Jonathan Wienke
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« Reply #3 on: September 16, 2007, 02:53:28 PM »
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I can only speak for myself, but it's been my experience that shooting in the presence of other photographers serves only to disturb my concentration. As far as advice in the field goes, I'm out there solely to capture my personal vision, and I'm the only one who knows what that is. I'm as sociable as the next guy, but not when I'm working.

That's pretty much my take as well; how many people does it really take to hold the camera and press the shutter release? Standing over my shoulder and offering a stream of advice about what to shoot and how to shoot it when I'm out with my camera is a good way to get a polite invitation to piss off, however well-intentioned. Unless you're new to photography and still need hand-holding with regard to how to focus and the basics of exposure or how to operate your camera in general, such "help" is generally counter-productive and very distracting. The only exception to this would be if I was shooting an event with other photographers, and needed to coordinate to ensure that all of the important aspects of the event were covered properly, and we didn't get in each others' way while shooting.

Getting feedback on finished images from others can be useful and educational on occasion, but depending too much on feedback from others is an excellent way to stifle creativity and original ideas.
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kikashi
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« Reply #4 on: September 16, 2007, 04:42:14 PM »
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I wonder what is your take on the topic?
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=139737\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

In photography, like anything else, there will be those who like to do it alone and those who prefer company.

As long as it's a solitary art and not a solitary vice, does it matter?

Jeremy
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steelbird
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« Reply #5 on: September 16, 2007, 05:31:28 PM »
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As long as it's a solitary art and not a solitary vice, does it matter?


   Well, Irving Klaw did make it kind of a solitary vice and it did matter.....at least on the viewer's side, and in the opinion of the US government.


   As for myself, I feel that I can only create my best work when I am acting solo - I often spend so much time on a shot, that observers wonder what the %&*# I'm doing, and what I'm seeing.   It's perfect for me, as I tend to be a solitary individual.
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pixelpro
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« Reply #6 on: September 16, 2007, 05:51:55 PM »
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"I'm located in Malaysia from my perception it is considered a group hobby."

Many photographers in the UK do belong to camera clubs, not me though, and I believe outings are arranged.

I am a loner when it comes to my camera work. I spend many hours setting up and shooting happily not bothering anyone. I find I can experiment without feeling I'm keeping everyone from their tea.

Other photographers would drive me mad - specially the ones that play the game "mine's bigger than yours."
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AndyF2
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« Reply #7 on: September 16, 2007, 07:40:45 PM »
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Is it a hobby which is best done alone except when presenting your work or is it something that is best done as a whole group where you share your accomplishment later?
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=139737\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
It's both, and you need both   For the specific phases where you're out taking the photo, it's an individual process since you're looking for and trying to obtain your own interpretation or vision.  Other people will distract and interfere with that.  Likewise when you're (digitally or chemically) developing your work.  
But a group is very good to exchange ideas, opinions, see other quite different styles of work and get feedback on your own.  
Andy
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TDR
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« Reply #8 on: September 16, 2007, 08:42:51 PM »
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Your question poses others than the one you thought you were putting to us, the main one being why do you care?

If you don´t want or feel it badly enough to get out and do it, then the best advice is to take up something else; it will only cost you more and more money as you go along with it and if your mindset is of the ´shared experience´ kind, then I don´t expect that much will ever come of it.

I believe that it is an all or nothing choice.

Others, of course, will disagree, and their opinions are just as valid - I volunteer but my own take on it all.

Rob C
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=139793\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

You do have a point, maybe I'm not asking the right question. Perhaps I should be asking, why does it matter to me so much about the art of photography when I should be enjoying it instead of worrying about such stuff?
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TDR
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« Reply #9 on: September 16, 2007, 08:44:40 PM »
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I can only speak for myself, but it's been my experience that shooting in the presence of other photographers serves only to disturb my concentration. As far as advice in the field goes, I'm out there solely to capture my personal vision, and I'm the only one who knows what that is. I'm as sociable as the next guy, but not when I'm working.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=139801\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Hmm, I never thought of it that way. Now that I think about it I do believe that when I shoot with others I feel compelled to do something whether it brings about any good shots or not as I would feel left out hence I would be doing photography not because I have a vision to express but just not wanting to feel left out.
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TDR
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« Reply #10 on: September 16, 2007, 08:46:25 PM »
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That's pretty much my take as well; how many people does it really take to hold the camera and press the shutter release? Standing over my shoulder and offering a stream of advice about what to shoot and how to shoot it when I'm out with my camera is a good way to get a polite invitation to piss off, however well-intentioned. Unless you're new to photography and still need hand-holding with regard to how to focus and the basics of exposure or how to operate your camera in general, such "help" is generally counter-productive and very distracting. The only exception to this would be if I was shooting an event with other photographers, and needed to coordinate to ensure that all of the important aspects of the event were covered properly, and we didn't get in each others' way while shooting.

Getting feedback on finished images from others can be useful and educational on occasion, but depending too much on feedback from others is an excellent way to stifle creativity and original ideas.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=139809\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I do agree about the being "pissed off" part. I have gotten into some strange wannabes "know it all" newbies who tried to lecture me on what is good compo just because he read the entire kenrockwell website   after a week of surfing.
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TDR
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« Reply #11 on: September 16, 2007, 08:50:53 PM »
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"I'm located in Malaysia from my perception it is considered a group hobby."

Many photographers in the UK do belong to camera clubs, not me though, and I believe outings are arranged.

I am a loner when it comes to my camera work. I spend many hours setting up and shooting happily not bothering anyone. I find I can experiment without feeling I'm keeping everyone from their tea.

Other photographers would drive me mad - specially the ones that play the game "mine's bigger than yours."
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=139844\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I met someone just like you, which is why this has gotten me thinking about the state of the art in Malaysia. I originally thought it was a group thing and was always playing the "mine's bigger then yours" game as well, I wanted to break from this ridiculous cycle which I also endured back in my younger days of being in the circle of computers.

This has made me very tired but now that I don't worry about the "p-envy" game I feel so uninspired and wonder if this is what photography has been about, the photos or the gear? Questions questions still linger and still searching for the answer
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TDR
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« Reply #12 on: September 16, 2007, 08:53:37 PM »
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It's both, and you need both   For the specific phases where you're out taking the photo, it's an individual process since you're looking for and trying to obtain your own interpretation or vision.  Other people will distract and interfere with that.  Likewise when you're (digitally or chemically) developing your work. 
But a group is very good to exchange ideas, opinions, see other quite different styles of work and get feedback on your own.   
Andy
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=139853\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I actually now am using both film and digital at the same time. I original shot using digital but I realized how little time I spent setting up a shot as I had this terrible knack of thinking "fix in it post" which I would greatly regret later on.

Thus I decided to shoot film as well (I picked up a nikon fm2n for a great bargain!) now whether I shoot film or digital, I now seems to spend more time thinking about how to get the shot right the first time instead of just randomly taking it and then hoping my photoshop skills can fix it later.
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Philmar
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« Reply #13 on: September 27, 2007, 12:56:37 PM »
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I prefer to work alone. I find the presence of others distracting....am I missing a shot? What are they seeing? Am I getting in someone's way? I might feel the others will think I am 'plagiarising' if I take the same shot they had taken just previously....
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An office drone pension administrator by day and a photo-enthusiast by night, week-end and on vacation who carries his camera when traveling the world:
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mikeseb
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« Reply #14 on: September 27, 2007, 04:58:19 PM »
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Is it a hobby which is best done alone except when presenting your work...
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=139737\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Lord, I hope so!  I have to work around people all day, every day, and they tire me out. When I started photographing as an eight-year-old, with Mom and Dad buying the film and expecting ROI on every frame, it was torture to have to "get a shot of x for us". Almost put me off the pursuit. Now that I'm (long) out of short pants, I can waste all the film, or time, that I want, er, that my wife lets me.

Interesting thing about unsolicited advice from bystanders--photography has always been a populist art form, accessible to anyone even if only done well at a high level by comparatively few. As such, people seem to feel freer offering advice to a photographer, even one with a "big" [professional-looking] camera, than they would to a painter, a sculptor, or other artist.

I reply with a degree of politeness dependent on the level of intrusiveness and know-it-all-ness of the interloper. I like to think, though, that my worst day photographing beats my best day at my day job, hands down.
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michael sebastian
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« Reply #15 on: September 28, 2007, 09:44:15 AM »
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All of the above.

Solo: freedom to move and act without consultation.  If you are very organized and self-contained, this is often the most productive mode, but also the most work.

Duo or Trio: This can be very productive for things like hiking or driving for landscape photography.  The hours pass very quickly, conversation can be great, sharing pieces of equipment can be very helpful, safety in numbers to overcome problems that might arise.  It does take a little compromising and works best when interests and skills are well aligned, but I enjoy duos and trios very much.

Larger groups:  I would recommend this only for beginners or for classes or for group outings where there is an economic advantage, such as spreading the cost of a guide or a special mode of transport.
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MonitoPhoto (Landscape, Architecture, Portraits: Halifax, Nova Scotia)
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« Reply #16 on: September 30, 2007, 05:17:35 PM »
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Over the years I've been snapping away happily, I have to say, that the same question has popped up in my head, though more along the lines of "would this picture have turned out better if I'd been alone?"

The truth is, at least I feel, there are times when you can't work alone, and there are times when you have to, as well as the times when you want to and don't want to.

From my experience in travelling and shooting, sometimes it's better to go a little faster, or lag a little behind from your friends or group, especially if photography isn't their game. There will always be someone who wants to comment, fine, it's their nature. Sometimes they have something useful to say, sometimes it goes in one ear and out the other.
Now, while I'm no pro, I do have a very good understanding of how a camera works, and the fundamentals of shooting (I'm like a kid with a paintbrush and canvas, work only a mother or modern art specialist would love... "Is that a peanut?") Personally I get a lot of satisfaction from helping people understand their equipment, why it's like it is, and how they can use it better for their purposes... But ONLY if they ask me.
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